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Columbia Law School

Bankruptcy Law

Chapter 13

Publication Year

Articles 1 - 2 of 2

Full-Text Articles in Law

Race And Bankruptcy: Explaining Racial Disparities In Consumer Bankruptcy, Edward R. Morrison, Belisa Pang, Antoine Uettwiller Jan 2018

Race And Bankruptcy: Explaining Racial Disparities In Consumer Bankruptcy, Edward R. Morrison, Belisa Pang, Antoine Uettwiller

Faculty Scholarship

Among consumers who file for bankruptcy, African Americans file Chapter 13 petitions at substantially higher rates than other racial groups. Some have hypothesized that the difference is attributable to discrimination by attorneys. We show that the difference may be attributable, in substantial part, to a selection effect: Among distressed consumers, African Americans have longer commutes to work, rely more heavily on cars for the commute, and therefore have greater demand for a bankruptcy process (Chapter 13) that allows them to retain their cars. We begin by showing that African Americans tend to have longer commuting times than other consumers and ...


Consumer Bankruptcy Pathologies, Edward R. Morrison, Antoine Uettwiller Jan 2016

Consumer Bankruptcy Pathologies, Edward R. Morrison, Antoine Uettwiller

Faculty Scholarship

This paper questions several longstanding descriptions of consumer bankruptcy in the United States. We focus on Chapter 13, which discharges debts after consumers pay disposable income to creditors for up to five years. Many studies document pathologies, including high failure rates, racial disparities, low creditor recoveries, and attorney biases. We observe the same patterns in new data drawn from Cook County, Illinois, but show that these pathologies are central tendencies that ignore substantial heterogeneity across consumers. Several are driven by subsets of consumers; some disappear once we account for account for consumer heterogeneity. We present new evidence that some pathologies ...